Lenovo Expands Networking, Storage, Server Portfolios

The company is leveraging partnerships with Juniper, Intel, Nutanix and others to build out its data center infrastructure offerings.

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Lenovo officials are continuing to partner with other tech vendors and software makers as they expand the company's data center infrastructure portfolio.

The company on June 6 unveiled new server, storage, networking and hyperconverged infrastructure offerings that expand on executives' strategy to make the Chinese tech vendor a larger player in the $87 billion data center technology space through a combination of in-house development and outside partnerships.

Lenovo has looked to accelerate its capabilities in the space since buying IBM's x86 server business two years ago for $2.3 billion, a move that immediately made the company the world's third-largest server maker. Company officials are looking to create a portfolio of data center solutions that use partnerships from established tech vendors and startups and Lenovo's own products to bring emerging technologies to customers.

"This dramatically expanded portfolio is a powerful demonstration of Lenovo's commitment to creating purposeful data center innovation in a truly open ecosystem," Tom Shell, senior vice president of Lenovo's Data Center Product Group, said in a statement.

Many of the new offerings will be on display at the company's TechWorld event in San Francisco June 9.

Lenovo is quickly growing out its capabilities in the storage segment of the market. The company launched a new software-defined storage (SDS) appliance program called StorSelect, starting with systems created through partnerships with Nexenta Systems and Cloudian to bring their SDS software to Lenovo's x86 server hardware systems. The new DX8200N will use Nexenta's open-source SDS software to support unified file and block storage for scale-up deployments, leveraging all-flash, hybrid and spinning drives. It builds on a partnership with Nexenta that Lenovo officials announced in March, when they first said Lenovo was integrating Nexenta's products into their x86 servers.

The DX8200C is an object-based storage appliance that will use Cloudian's SDS software and will target large scale-out environments. Both systems will begin shipping in the third quarter.

Separate from the StorSelect program, Lenovo officials announced the V-Series lineup to 12G-bit storage-area network (SAN) offerings, which will feature the company's first Lenovo-branded midrange storage systems. The V3700 V2 and V5030 are hybrid and all-flash SAN offerings that will begin shipping this month.

Lenovo also is pushing to expand its networking capabilities, which include a new network operating system and a new reseller agreement around Ethernet switches with Juniper Networks. The two companies in March announced they were teaming up to develop hyperconverged data center systems that will combine Lenovo's strength in x86 systems and Juniper's networking expertise. Now Lenovo will resell Juniper's EX2300 and EX4550 Ethernet switches and the QFX10002-72Q data center spine aggregation switch as part of its lineup of integrated systems that will include Lenovo's data center access products. Those will be available in the third quarter.

The two vendors also jointly published a virtualized data center reference architecture that is designed to enable customers to more easily build solutions that use products from both Lenovo and Juniper.

In addition, Lenovo released Lenovo Cloud NOS, a network OS that is designed to bring resiliency, programmability and cloud-level scalability to customer networks, according to company officials. Customers can start downloading the offering June 17.

In hyperconverged infrastructure, Lenovo is leveraging its partnership with Nutanix, which sells software for hyperconverged environments, to expand its portfolio of HX series appliances based on its x86 server products. The new appliances, which will run Nutanix's Xpress software, include the HX1000 Series for remote office/branch office (ROBO) settings and the HX2000 Series for small and midsize businesses (SMBs), which was announced in May. In addition, Lenovo officials said the company is integrating its latest servers into the HX3000 Series of hyperconverged appliances aimed at virtual desktop infrastructures (VDI) and smaller virtualized workloads and the HX5000 Series, which is optimized for server virtualization environments.

They will be available in the third quarter.

Lenovo also is upgrading its x3850 and x3950 X6 servers with Intel's latest Xeon E7 8800/4800 v4 processors, which the chip maker also announced June 6. The new chips support up to 12TB of memory, which means systems powered by them fit well in mission-critical environments running such workloads as in-memory applications, large virtualization projects and big data analytics, officials said. They will be available this month.

The four-socket x3850 X6 will use Intel's Xeon E7-8890 v4 chips on Windows, which will bring more than 33 percent better performance over the previous Lenovo system.

In addition, Lenovo also unveiled the ultra-dense ThinkServer sd350, a 2U (3.5-inch), four-node system for software-defined workloads. The new system offers a combination of high density, efficiency and affordability.